Gail Collins, um, is concerned about Trump!

FRIDAY, AUGUST 30, 2019

To our most recent coy journalist:
Did somebody think that there actually was a "gay gene?" The New York Times, in a front-page report, informs us today that there isn't.

Also this:

An inspector general's report is only as good as the judgment of the particular inspector general in question. There is no final, definitive judgment on the conduct of any public official. Inspector generals are significant players, but they aren't the oracle at Delphi. They aren't even philosopher-kings!

That said, it's never a good day for us the people when the New York Times is telling us this on its re-imagined page A3:
The Conversation
FIVE OF THE MOST READ, SHARED AND DISCUSSED POSTS FROM ACROSS NYTIMES.COM

1) Is Trump, Um, Slipping? Even More?
This opinion column by Gail Collins was one of the most read articles on Thursday. "If anything important came out of the Group of 7 meeting, it was probably further evidence that our president is . . . getting worse," she wrote, arguing that the president seemed "even more befuddled and confused than usual" at the meeting of major industrialized countries.
That headline did in fact appear on Collins' Thursday column.

The word "Um" did appear in her headline. And when Collins wrote about the "probabl[e] further evidence that our president is . . . getting worse," that slightly coy "dot dot dot" was right there in her copy.

As such, Collins became the ten millionth upper-end journalist to suggest that Trump is undergoing some type of cognitive decline, or some advancing mental health problem, without being willing to come right out and say so.

Instead, she, um, talked around what she was saying, with the result that she never quite managed to say it. The following passage includes the only point where she came close to stating her apparent meaning:
COLLINS (8/29/19): The meeting in France wasn’t the only recent exchange with world leaders that suggested Trump is suffering from something more worrisome than the lack of a coherent foreign policy. Back in April, after talking with NATO officials in Washington, he said that despite his complaints about Germany, he had “great respect” for the country from which his father emigrated. “My father is German...born in a very wonderful place in Germany.”

Fred Trump was born in the Bronx. “To mental health professionals like me, the red flags are waving wildly,” wrote the psychologist John Gartner.
Interesting! But what might those wildly waving red flags be saying to those "mental health professionals?"

Collins made no attempt to say, or to inquire of Gartner. Again and again, then again and again, it's perfectly clear that such things simply aren't done.

Once again, we'll suggest that we're looking at an anthropological problem—at the limited intellectual and moral horizons of our less-than-spectacular species.

Donald Trump is the most powerful person on earth. He does in fact hold the nuclear codes, and Jared could probably help him figure out how to activate them.

If he seems to be having a problem with "mental health," or if he seems to be undergoing some type of cognitive decline, you'd think a serious adult journalist would want to explore the question directly. But again and again and again and again, the children take the road constantly traveled by—the path of insinuation and avoidance.

Had we but world enough and time, this coyness would be no crime! But with re-election drawing on, time’s winged chariot might be said to be hurrying near!

If something is happening to Donald J. Trump, shouldn't adult journalists examine the question before the pressure on this disordered man mounts even further?

Alas! "Let us sport while we may" has long been the calling card of the upper-end press corps. The children like to gambol and play while showcasing their vast wit.

They've been at this task for decades. Not unlike the commander-in-chief, they may be getting worse.

Also this: Also on today's A3, we were treated to seven noteworthy facts. The first and last of those noteworthy facts went exactly like this:
Of Interest
NOTEWORTHY FACTS FROM TODAY'S PAPER

A franchise owner who runs 11 Popeyes locations in the Midwest said that last week he sold 1,200 fried chicken sandwiches at his restaurant in Appleton, Wis.

[...]

As a child, the Abstract Expressionist and Color Field painter Helen Frankenthaler drew a line in chalk on the ground from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to her family's apartment on 74th Street.
To some editor, they were "noteworthy facts." People, we're just saying!

19 comments:

  1. "Fred Trump was born in the Bronx."

    I have no idea where Fred Trump was born (nor do I care), but note, dear Bob, that at least The Donald isn't claiming to be an Indian.

    How wildly, I wonder, the red flags are waving to mental health professionals like Mr Gartner, when a woman with an Anglo-Saxon background is claiming to be an Indian, and not just in an idle chat but in official documents?

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    1. Ha ha. The idea that your problem with Warren is that she called herself an Indian, and not that she wants to hold your Establishment pals accountable for their crimes is nonsense.

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  2. Maybe Trump knows that someone finagled his dad's birth certificate or something.

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    Replies
    1. Maybe Trump knows.
      Ha ha. Good one.

      Here's mine: Maybe a Conservative knows.

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  3. If Somerby is so concerned about media discussion of Trump’s mental health, he could have analyzed or at least mentioned the op-ed by Dr Gartner from April 2019 that appeared in USA Today, which has one of the highest circulation numbers of any US newspaper. It was linked to in the online version of Collins’ op-ed. The title was “Trump's cognitive deficits seem worse. We need to know if he has dementia: Psychologist.”


    Gartner’s actual op-ed is ... underwhelming. He merely wonders if Trump has some form of dementia, not whether Trump is a sociopath. He wishes Trump could be examined by a professional. And among Gartner’s “red flags” were quotes from media figures like Amanda Marcotte and Eugene Robinson, who claimed to notice bizarre or unhinged speeches by Trump.

    In other words, trained psychologist Gartner is partially relying on media reports to assess Trump’s potential cognitive decline, the very media that Somerby vilifies for not adequately discussing Trump’s mental state.

    And if a trained psychologist is uncertain or hesitant to clearly diagnose Trump, why should an untrained newspaper columnist do so?

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  4. Collins’ fundamental question is:

    “So what do you think? Mental deterioration or just Trump as usual?”

    That isn’t the question Somerby wants her to ask, so he attacks her.

    If he wants to make a coherent case that Trump is “mentally ill”, “has dementia”, or “is a sociopath”, then he ought to make that case himself, rather than demanding that other journalists make his case for him, especially when they don’t necessarily agree with him.

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  5. This question of Trump's mental health could be easily resolved if he were required to have an actual physical exam yearly by a qualified physician, not some toady who lets him write his own health report.

    This should be part of his yearly exam. The public should know the results (not necessarily the specifics but the broad outlines). If he is not competent, that feedback should be provided to congress and to the Vice President and other key administration figures, Chief of Staff, Secretary of State. His fitness for office is a matter of national security.

    We as a nation let him get away with fudging on his health report. It happened during the election, when Democrats and Republicans both failed to make a big enough issue of his lies, and it has happened every January since he took office.

    Now Somerby wants to accuse the press of being coy. Somerby is as much at fault and they are. We should be writing our congressional representatives about this, and Tom Steyer should be running ads about it. A president who hides his health from the public is not fit to hold office.

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  6. "As a child, the Abstract Expressionist and Color Field painter Helen Frankenthaler drew a line in chalk on the ground from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to her family's apartment on 74th Street."

    This fact is noteworthy because that child grew up to be an important artist.

    I understand that Somerby may not care about art and that he may not care about what artists are like as children, but he is supposedly someone who cares about children.

    What is wrong with a man who cannot find any interest in such a set of facts? Did he perhaps not understand that the chalk line connected the art museum with the child's home? That makes it a statement the child artist was making about her life and the importance of art in it. How can Somerby not care about it?

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    1. The ONLY thing Somerby cares about is being a deatached. self-absorbed jagoff.

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    2. In the rarefied world of Manhattan abstract expressionists, art critics who pimp their work, gallery owners who sell their work, and other associated poseurs, Frankenthaler may be an important figure, and her chalk line may have some deep significance. I’m sure everybody, including TDH, understands “that the chalk line connected the art museum with the child’s home.” And I suppose it makes some kind of “statement the child artist was making about her life and the importance of art in it.” In fact, like her art, it makes any statement you wish to posit. No one can gainsay you.

      Here, I’ll show you. I say that the chalk line represents the strangling leash that museums and their acquisition committees use to bind and restrict artists. Check out Frankenthaler’s Wikipedia page, which has an image of one of her paintings from 1952 titled — spoiler alert! — Mountains and Sea. But it might as well have been called Still Life with Wombat.

      Frankenthaler has been dead for almost eight years. Right now the President of the United States is an erratic buffoon. But the NYT somehow thinks that it’s the artist’s chalk line that’s a noteworthy fact.

      Here’s a noteworthy fact for you: Jackson Pollock, an artist who influenced Frankenthaler according to Wikipedia, flung paint at his long canvases from a slightly-raised walkway constructed of wooden slats. After Pollock died, his friends and family removed the walkway to discover that over the years the paint that dripped between the slats had formed another Pollock on the floor beneath.

      Do ya get it yet?

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      We hope you enjoyed this example of uncultured impudence and lower middle class ignorance™

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    3. deadrat -- If you haven't read it yet, I think you would appreciate "The Painted Word" by Tom Wolfe.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Painted_Word

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    4. Deadrat, I must say that you don't seem to get it, nor do some of the other commenters.
      Let me offer a clue: We live in a parlous time.

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    5. @12:09P,

      Certainly some of the other commenters have no clue what TDH is talking about, and they demonstrate such every time they post a comment. But it's easy to find the fault in others that one cannot see in oneself.

      As a general statement about me, you've made a pretty good bet. I get things wrong all the time. Perhaps you could explain what in particular I'm missing.

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    6. I find deadrat's story about Jackson Pollack interesting. If you don't find random information about a variety of things to be interesting, why on earth would you read the newspaper at all? It is almost never about you.

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    7. deadrat, some of the comments expressed are disagreements with Somerby, not misunderstandings of him. Your self-appointed role of Somerby interpreter is tiresome. You should either express your own opinions about things or shut up, because no one here needs you to explain Somerby to them.

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    8. [S]ome of the comments expressed are disagreements with Somerby, not misunderstandings of him.

      Indeed, and you’ll sometimes find me among those who disagree with TDH. I think his abyssal ignorance of science makes absurd his criticism of popular science writing. I think he’s been misled by ignoramuses like Harari. And I don’t know what to do with his advice about forbearance in not calling out supporters of treason, xenophobia, bigotry, and disregard for the law.

      But I doubt that the comments I object to arise from “misunderstanding.” There’s the constant yapping about TDH repeating “right-wing memes,” about his alleged “support” for Roy Moore, and just recently about his “approval” of Bretbug Stephens. This is either mendacity or willful ignorance, and I have taken upon myself the burden of objecting to such. But in doing so, I’m not TDH’s interpreter. Interpretation is rarely necessary: if TDH is anything he’s an obvious and incessant repeater of a few simple themes. Subtlety is not his thing. If you think I’m providing exegesis for this blog, you can’t read for comprehension.

      You should either express your own opinions about things or shut up….

      This made me laugh. First of all, I express my own opinions about lotsa things. I just gave you an earful about abstract art, for instance. Secondly, I can’t imagine anyone would care that much about my own opinions. Frankly, even I’m bored by them. On the plus side, I report my digging into statistics, the United States Code, Supreme Court rulings, etc. Wouldn’t you rather hear about that?

      [N]o one here needs you to explain Somerby to them.

      But plenty need to be reminded to read for simple comprehension. If you find me tiresome, I suspect that you’re one of them. The solution is trivial: don’t read what I write. I always post these days using my Google nym, so it’s easy to spot my comments and pass them by. It’s what I do with Mao.
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      We hope you enjoyed this example of uncultured impudence and lower middle class ignorance™

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    9. I find deadrat's story about Jackson Pollack interesting. If you don't find random information about a variety of things to be interesting, why on earth would you read the newspaper at all? It is almost never about you.

      Of course it’s almost never about you, unless you’re unlucky enough to be trapped in the public limelight. You think TDH objects to the nonsense on A3 because the stories don’t refer to him?

      I find the Pollack story both interesting and instructive. But at least I can tell it’s not important.

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      We hope you enjoyed this example of uncultured impudence and lower middle class ignorance™

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